Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade

The European Union-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) pilot project aims to support commercial ventures and producer groups in becoming export-oriented, market-driven enterprises that will consistently supply overseas markets with competitive agricultural and forestry products. The project is implemented by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Suva, Fiji and started in May 2008.

International consultation to chart way forward for Pacific coconut industry
Thursday, 25 February 2010 11:00

A roundtable on increasing trade in Pacific coconut products is being held over 17–18 June in Fiji. The Asia Pacific Coconut Community-SPC Roundtable will discuss the latest trends in coconut processing and market prospects.

During the official opening of the meeting, the  Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Land Resources Division, Mr ‘Aleki Sisifa, acknowledged the political support of the governments of Fiji and Samoa and welcomed the Hon. Joketani Cokanasiga, Fijian Minister of Primary Industries, and Hon. Vui Tupe Ioane, Samoa Minister for Agriculture.
The meeting is being held at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi.
Mr Sisifa said that the Pacific region was experiencing unprecedented and accelerating change, with the population of Pacific island countries and territories having more than doubled over the last 50 years.

“We have made our voices heard in international forums about the real threat of losing land, even whole islands, to sea level rise, and the potential for increasingly extreme events associated with climate change,” Mr Sisifa said.

He said land degradation and associated floods and soil erosion had resulted in serious siltation of rivers and coastal areas. Soils were becoming more saline, drier, poorer in nutrients and richer in pests as fallow periods shortened.

“People farm on steeper and more marginal land as industries and settlements are opened up on arable land. More than 70% of our bio-diversity has been eroded over the past 50 years.”

‘However, the coconut provides a sustainable and calming influence. It has been with us since we settled these islands and continues to be a distinctive characteristic of the Pacific landscape.’

“The coconut has always been, still is, and will continue to be regarded as the “Tree of Life” because of its multiplicity of uses. Its leaves, fruits, stems and roots provide shelter, food, handicrafts and other cultural and traditional uses, as well as income for communities living in rural areas and outer islands.”

Mr Sisifa said that the coconut forms the basis of robust and sustainable multilayer farming systems that have been developed in Pacific countries and territories over generations. Intercropping of coconuts with food and cash crops and running cattle and small animals under coconuts have proven to be sustainable types of land use suited to the geographic, climatic and socio-economic conditions of Pacific Islands.

Research and development on the coconut has been occurring since the colonial days. More recently, the focus has been on their cultivation and maintenance.

Helping countries and territories to increase their export trade is a new area of focus for SPC with work being carried out through its European Union funded FACT (Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade) project.

Mr Sisifa expressed SPC’s gratitude to the European Union for this assistance.

The FACT project aims to sustainably increase the quality and range of exports of Pacific agriculture and forestry products, and to contribute to the integration of the 14 Pacific ACP countries into the regional and global economy.

For further information please contact Vinesh Prasad on telephone (679)3370733

 


The European Union-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) project is implemented by the Land Resources Division of SPC.